Yes, George R.R. Martin is still working on The Winds of Winter. Yes, that means A Dream of Spring will come eventually. But before that happens, we’re getting the eighth and final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. What will this spoil for fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series? Hopefully not everything.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin said he hasn’t read the scripts for the final season of the series—nor has he visited the set—because he’s been focusing on writing The Winds of Winter. This means that he doesn’t really know the exact plans of Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss and hasn’t really been working with them on the ending, apart from that rough outline he gave them years ago about how he plans on ending the series. Given how far the HBO show has already strayed from the books, it means there’s a whole bunch we haven’t discovered yet that could be revealed in the final two instalments of ASoIaF.
“I know some of the things. But there’s a lot of minor-character [stories] they’ll be coming up with on their own. And, of course, they passed me several years ago. There may be important discrepancies,” Martin said.
However, this does raise the question of how much of the show’s ending will match the books. In the early seasons, the problem was how the books spoiled some of the show’s biggest surprises, like the Red Wedding or Jon Snow’s death. But now, since we’re so far away from the ending to ASoIaF, the concern is what the show is going to spoil the books instead. Benioff told EW he and Weiss made a particular promise to Martin to help ease that strain:
Now that the show is ahead of the books, it seems the show could ruin the books for people. So one thing we’ve talked to George about is that we’re not going to tell people what the differences are, so when those books come out people can experience them fresh.
Martin didn’t share how far along he is on writing The Winds of Winter, but he did note how he wished he’d finished the books sooner, because he “never anticipated” the show surpassing his own story. But, as they say in “the Biz,” the books must go on.
“It’s the end for a lot of people,” Martin said. “It’s not the end for me. I’m still deeply in it. I better live a long time because I have a lot of work left to do.”